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Kinship of Rivers
10am - 8pm with programs and performances throughout the day // Exhibition Runs: Jul 28, 2012

Kinship of Rivers is a five-year international river project that uses collective art, poetry, stories, music, dance and food to bring a sense of kinship among the people and communities along both the Mississippi and Yangtze Rivers.

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Learn more about artist Wang Ping and the Kinship of Rivers project.


The celebration throughout the day will include many different components, from music to dance, poetry to flag making, in which people from every walk of life are encouraged to participate. The gallery will be a gathering point for people to come together in celebration of the Mississippi and the Yangtze Rivers. At 6pm, The Soap Factory is hosting a performance of Ten Thousand Waves, a narrative poem written by Wang Ping set to music by Bruce Bolon. The Kinship of Rivers event will end with the completion of Tibetan mystic art: Sand Mandala, performed by Lama Yeshi Choedup, and a grand ceremony for peace and clean water.

Visitors are invited to join artists Wang Ping, Ruthann Godollei, Lisa Steinmann and Lisa Erickson in making River Flags. These flags, decorated with beautiful poems and images about rivers, connect the river communities along the Mississippi and Yangtze. Already, thousands of river flags have been made by children, seniors, writers, musicians, dancers and artists, and sewn together into banners, which serve as kinetic ambassadors of peace, joy and harmony.

“As the flags flutter in the wind along the shores, they release our gratitude and good wishes into the world”, says artist Wang Ping.

The Yangtze and Mississippi Rivers share many things in common as the world’s third and fourth greatest rivers. Both rivers are rich with history and culture, inspiring poets, writers, artists and musicians. As the two rivers flow across the continents, giving and taking on their way to the sea, they teach us that we are all connected.

Kinship of Rivers Program: July 28th
10am - 7pm

- Sand Mandala of Peace by Yeshi Choedup

1 -5pm

- Wind chime sound installations by Carleton Macy, recorder by Macy, yangqing by Peiju Picardo with melodies from the Yangtze and Mississippi
- Kevin Conroy builds a bamboo dome for chimes. Visitors are welcome to help build the dome and bring their own wind chimes to hang on the frame. Their sound will join in the melodies from the two rivers.
- Tea ceremony with Peiju Picardo from Samosa Tea
- Making river flags to bring to the Yangtze River and Tibet in 2013

3 - 5pm

- Dumplings with the Yangtze recipe and organic ingredients


- Ten Thousand Waves Ensemble, lyrics by Wang Ping, music by Bruce Bolon


- Completion of the Peace Mandala, a closing ceremony and offering the mandala to the river. Half of the mandala sand will be given to the audience as blessing, and the rest offered to the Mississippi for healing

About the artist:
Wang Ping is a poet, writer, photographer, grant writer and fund-raiser, organizer for the trips and manager for the whole installation collaboration. Born in Shanghai, Wang Ping now lives on the bank of the Mississippi. She’s been photographing and writing about the two rivers for the past decade, and would like to build bridges across the rivers with her art and poetry and with this river project.

About sand mandala:
Of all the artistic traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, that of painting with colored sand is one of the most unusual and exquisite. In Tibetan, this art is called dul-tson-kyil-khor, which literally means “mandala of colored powders.” Millions of grains of sand are painstakingly laid into place on a flat platform over a period of days or weeks.

Formed of an iconography that includes geometric shapes and a multitude of ancient spiritual symbols, the sand-painted mandala is used as a tool for re-consecrating the earth and its inhabitants.

It begins with an outline of the mandala. The following days see the laying of the colored sands, which is effected by pouring the sand from traditional metal funnels called chak-pur. Each monk holds a chak-pur in one hand, while running a metal rod on its grated surface; the vibration causes the sands to flow like liquid.

After their completion, the sand mandalas are swept up and placed in an urn; to fulfill the function of healing, half is distributed to the audience at the closing ceremony, while the remainder is carried to a nearby body of water, where it is deposited, to be spread throughout the world for planetary healing.

In dul-tson-kyil-khor, the traditional Tibetan art form, millions of grains of sand are laid into place, in a process that takes weeks.